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University Kendo in Eastern US?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Dervish View Post
    I believe Ken-Zen Dojo provides (a) coach(es) for NYU and NYC Kendo Club for Columbia.
    I don't think the Columbia Kendo Club's website is current as a newer link said under construction. There are couple people that practice at Shidogakuin NY that are members of the Columbia Kendo Club. I also know the member of Ken-Zen that is coach/instructor at NYU.

    I don't think dojos necessaryily "provide" especially if their not AUSKF affiliated or directly affiliated with that club. It is more of a labor of love and a college club is a very different animal than a dojo. Especially when you have students working together although some older clubs like Harvard, Rutgers and Cornell have the system down and even though people graduate the clubs remain productive (recruiting people, hosting tournaments, running the club).

    Stroud-sensei that list is somewhat helpful but would miss alot of college clubs. Not all college clubs are AUSKF affiliated and you never know when visiting students from Japan or students with previous experience come to a college and start a club. Maintaining the minimum number of members are having people members of different federations doesn't make it easy for all clubs. In that since I think if there was some mechanism to allow people at University clubs who were non-AUSKF members to join either through a neighboring AUSKF dojo or one close to their home. That AUSKF membership would increase plus you wouldn't have Joe Blow who has been a mudansha despite 4 years of college kendo winning every tournament. There wourld be more motivation for them to test and take advantage of AUSKF events.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by daigakukendo View Post
      I am a high school senior trying to come at decision for university. I'm finalizing between Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Michigan, NYU, Penn. I am a competitive Kendo player and competed in AUSKF nationals representing my federation. I would like to continue to pursue Kendo in college, but I would like to join a team that has large team members with prospects to attend tournaments and mingle with other college Kendo players. Does anybody know anything about Kendo in these schools? I have seen what they have of their websites, but I would like to get first hand opinions.
      Also keep in mind that you're priorities may change once you get to college. I've seen a student go to college who stuck with kendo all four years, but gradually as classes got harder and he had to do more studying, kendo became 2nd priority. My observations are that mid-terms and finals are the hardest times to get to practice for some folks. Though that may also depend on what you major in and how many classes you pile on in a semester.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by daigakukendo View Post
        Frankly I don't think I needed advise on how to select colleges on this forum.
        You're not the first high school student to ask this question, and many of them did intend to base their decision at least in part on the available kendo. So you can hopefully see the basis for the well-intended advice. And seeing as you are so smart, you do understand this is the internet, and a topic is going to wander off on its own despite your intentions in starting it. For instance, getting little lectures like this one. Just take the information you need.

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        • #19
          I may need double checking on this, but I believe that Columbia's coach is Kataoka (?) sensei, head of NYC Kendo, and NYU has Takahashi - sensei from Ken Zen institute. NYU happened to take 3rd place overall in the annual Harvard Shoryuhai tournament, as well.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by nederlander View Post
            I may need double checking on this, but I believe that Columbia's coach is Kataoka (?) sensei, head of NYC Kendo, and NYU has Takahashi - sensei from Ken Zen institute. NYU happened to take 3rd place overall in the annual Harvard Shoryuhai tournament, as well.
            You maybe right about Columbia I just noticed that they had one website that looked out of date and another one that was under construction.
            Daigakukendo goodluck with your decision but as other said you put it out there be prepared to read some stuff you don't like. Even though it is different when applying for a job I like to get a feel of the people working there. Especially if I have to make a decision and was not able to do a face to face interview. If possible I would ask if I could come in a day before making a decision. You seem to maybe be lucky enough to have offers from all those institutions. In fact one of my fellow dojomates son will be going to college. During the visit my dojomate actually contacted the instructor of the kendo club and went to practice. Which depending on where you live might be a viable option but you would have to do it soon as final exams are coming around the corner. You could also possibly email kendo club officers to get feedback from them. Though I graduated in 2004 I often get questoned about GW as a school and their kendo club. I give my opinons to the people without sugar coating it so perhaps the officers of the clubs can too not only about the club but being a student at the university.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by nederlander View Post
              I may need double checking on this, but I believe that Columbia's coach is Kataoka (?) sensei, head of NYC Kendo, and NYU has Takahashi - sensei from Ken Zen institute. NYU happened to take 3rd place overall in the annual Harvard Shoryuhai tournament, as well.
              Not sure about Kataoka sensei, but Takahashi sensei does NYU or NYC, I always get them mixed up but he does do one of them. Either way NY has some really strong clubs, you can't go wrong with any of them.

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              • #22
                Out of the schools you listed, Cornell generally does the best in local tournaments in both individuals and teams. Having said that, I have never seen a team from Michigan, so take that for what it's worth. You will definitely be practicing with good people and have a lot of tournament opportunities at Cornell.

                Reading more posts, someone said that NYU got third at Harvard this year. They are definitely nothing to shake a stick at, but I have not seen quite as much of their kendo either.
                Last edited by Missingno.; 29th March 2012, 04:51 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Missingno. View Post
                  Out of the schools you listed, Cornell generally does the best in local tournaments in both individuals and teams. Having said that, I have never seen a team from Michigan, so take that for what it's worth. You will definitely be practicing with good people and have a lot of tournament opportunities at Cornell.

                  Reading more posts, someone said that NYU got third at Harvard this year. They are definitely nothing to shake a stick at, but I have not seen quite as much of their kendo either.
                  Since University of Michigan is in the Midwest federation, the members tend to go to Midwestern events such as Detroit, Midwest Championships, and the Midwest Student tournament. At times some people also go to Cleveland, and a for the last few years they've made it out to the Baltimore-Annapolis tournament, mainly because they get to crash at my place during that weekend.

                  Historically there hasn't been much interest in going to tournaments on the east coast due to the travel, cost, and scheduling conflicts that occur with other more local tournaments. It also depends on the political will of the officers of the club at the time. When I was president, we did manage to go to a Canadian university tournament, which at least on paper was an international tournament for us (woo!).

                  Yukio Watanabe is the head coach of the club, and has been for the last 10 years. The club itself is administered by the students, and in many ways resembles a Japanese university's kendo "circle", at least from the students who have either come from Japan or go to Japan for a year abroad have said. The club normally has a large group of beginners join each year, and the rest of the club is made up of people who have joined in previous years, so the majority of students start as beginners and generally are either shodan or nidan by the time they graduate. Every year about 3-4 members join who have either kendo or kumdo experience.

                  Many students also practice at Eastern Michigan University's kendo club which meets during a week night, and there is a lot of friendships and relationships between the two clubs. Students also practice more occasionally at Detroit and Michigan State, and members from those dojos also practice occasionally with the U-M club. Due to a building access fee that's charged to non-students, the U-M club generally has mostly students, although the club normally covers the fee for any high ranking visitor, though that's up to the club president.

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                  • #24
                    To help give more information to the OP, speaking from personal experience, discussions with my former sensei and the rest of the coaching staff, the overall goal of the kendo club at U-M is to provide a place to make friends, have good memories of college, learn about kendo and provide a place to mature and challenge each other.

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                    • #25
                      Takahashi sensei is definitely at NYU, as well as at Ken Zen. In addition to whoever the head sensei at Columbia might be, they also have a good number of high ranking Japanese graduate students, who are qualified sensei in their own right. And there's a decent amount of koryu access in New York City as well.

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                      • #26
                        Thank you for all the in depth comments about different Kendo clubs and club administration that I need to consider. I guess what I really need to gather is information about club officers, like how willing they are to engage the club in tournaments and other universities, and individual players on the team who would affect the extent to which various clubs would participate in tournaments. I take it that thinking about their graduation timing is also important because if the club is top heavy with seniors, I would be going into a club with a whole new atmosphere by the time I enroll this fall, and that may not be reflective of what the club had been under their participation.

                        I have seen some of the videos on youtube. It's interesting that Cornell seems to have two jodan players. Is Cornell known for passing along Jodan among its members?

                        Also, I heard reference to a sensei in one of the tournament video where a Columbia player was competing in what I think is a student kendo tournament. But wait... he's a student but has a sensei status in the club? I'm not sure how I'd take that after having practiced under Senseis who have been generally old-mid aged men who could have easily substituted for my dad not only in age range, but also in how I interact with them.

                        I also saw that Penn and Princeton seems to be linked under a single dojo. Speaking of inter-dojo interaction, I wonder if that could give chance to get to know Princeton students.

                        Lastly, how bad is it getting to Kendo practice from the dorms? From few of the campuses I've visited, freshmen dorms seem really far from the main campus, so the locality of dorm-practice commute is definitely something to consider because my laziness demands it's already a pain walking from my car in parking lot into my dojo. The horror of having to trudge through snow to get to practice gets me worried that I'd be worn out long before practice starts with half a mile remaining to walk! I guess that builds stamina and character if I can continue Kendo under those circumstances.... By the way, in NYC, I imagine I'd have to take the subway if I choose to attend practices outside the university club. But how would one manage to carry bogu and shinai in a subway station being so cramped without attracting unwanted attention?

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                        • #27
                          Another thing I'd like to ask is how often interclub relationships happen. In my dojo, there've been two couples formed and I'm not sure what to think of them whenever I watch them go at each other in Keiko... Passionate? But in a funny way? Personally I'd never consider hitting my girlfriend speaking from my past experience so I guess I lack the perspective. I'm curious if this happens more often in college clubs.

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                          • #28
                            You're right. But I dont want digressions to uncontrollably balloon into discussion that takes focus off of my main concern for going so far as to making an account to post on this forum. That is why I needed to express that opinion to regulate the ideas posted in my thread. But thank you for the insight.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill View Post
                              You're not the first high school student to ask this question, and many of them did intend to base their decision at least in part on the available kendo. So you can hopefully see the basis for the well-intended advice. And seeing as you are so smart, you do understand this is the internet, and a topic is going to wander off on its own despite your intentions in starting it. For instance, getting little lectures like this one. Just take the information you need.
                              You're right. But I dont want digressions to uncontrollably balloon into discussion that takes focus off of my main concern for going so far as to making an account to post on this forum. That is why I needed to express that opinion to regulate the ideas posted in my thread. But thank you for the insight.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by daigakukendo View Post
                                .But wait... he's a student but has a sensei status in the club? I'm not sure how I'd take that after having practiced under Senseis who have been generally old-mid aged men who could have easily substituted for my dad not only in age range, but also in how I interact with them.
                                It's possible. I can easily envision a 22-26 year old graduate student who is already yondan, especially if they were exposed to kendo when they were kids. I'm 32 and there are so many higher ranked people who are younger than I am in my own dojo and federation. It's just something you need to get used to and should only require a minor attitude adjustment.

                                Originally posted by daigakukendo
                                Another thing I'd like to ask is how often interclub relationships happen. In my dojo, there've been two couples formed and I'm not sure what to think of them whenever I watch them go at each other in Keiko...
                                It's happened and not unheard of. Two of my dojomates in university met at the kendo club and got married. They still practice kendo. I've never bothered to ask them how they feel when they keiko with each other (because nothing changed for anyone else), but I imagine they leave their marital status at the dojo entrance. If it happens to you, I suppose you'll do that too.

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